ADHD

All posts tagged ADHD

Like Sands Through The Hourglass…

Published May 16, 2018 by sarcasmica

So are the days with our kids.

That’s what everyone likes to say. Hell, I say it to new moms. It’s unavoidable and it’s all true. It’s true that when you are on the other side, time has flown. It’s also painfully true when you are in the thick of it, time stands still some days. It’s all correct.

My son is on his 6th grade camping trip. This is day #1. He is also turning 12 in less than a month. These milestones echo the countdown of adulthood. Moms of boys graduating high school this month are sure to “tsk” me and tell me how fast it all goes by and to cherish it.  Right now I can’t imagine it going any faster.

I don’t know if it’s because he’s my first, my most challenging, my most colorful, but his infancy, toddlerdom and elementary ages were painfully slow. Painfully.     S   l   o   w    . I’ve blogged/complained/bitched/moaned enough about the trials and tribulations. Very little was exaggerated. I knew nothing about how to raise this child until I was raising this child. We learned and figured most of it out together. What I didn’t know, I faked pretty terribly. I feel like his whole life aside from, you know, keeping him alive, I’ve been waiting for him to grow into himself. He was not a baby who enjoyed being a baby like his sister. He was not a toddler who managed his world. He did not tackle boyhood with fervor and tenacity. It was more triggers and anxiety. Colic and helmets. Physical therapy and occupational therapy. Medication and testing. IEPs and sensory challenges.

Finally, at long long last, my kid has become who he is. This sounds completely insane, but I’m curious if other moms out there understand this at all. My son was always somehow both emotionally far beyond his brain and miles behind his emotions. His reasoning was miles kilometers ahead of his age at the same time he also managed to be underdeveloped with his feelings.

Now he has arrived at himself. Things make sense for him. He is the closest to emotionally mature a 12 year old male human can be. He’s not a breath away from drowning anymore, he’s actually paddling the raft…. sometimes in circles. Sometimes the oar isn’t in the water, but he is controlling his own trajectory. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch. It’s still scary and new and unsure at times, but it is so cool to see him as the whole picture and get glimpses of how the future might be for him.

For the new moms out there, don’t be too hard on us when we tell you how fast it goes. We say it with the understanding of how slow it is for you right now. We wont take it personally when you scoff at our cliche sentiments, I promise 🙂

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Parenting Is Not For The Weak

Published January 24, 2018 by sarcasmica

We have been adjusting around here. Adjusting to my mom getting ready to move into her own apartment after living with us for over five years. My daughter only knows life with Gramma around. I’ve been talking to the kids prepping for the actual moving day so it’s not a big “Surprise! Today’s the day!”

I figured this was the culprit for my son’s behavior of late. After two weeks of back to school with fairly decent mornings and getting off to school fine, suddenly he is an emotional, defiant, argumentative, sputtering mess. And not in the pre-pubescent way. No, it’s a bratty, fit-filled, moody way.

Did I mention the husband is away on business? Yes, we specialize in this kind of timing in this house.

Anyway, speaking to one of my son’s teachers today I find out there is a report due next week that involves reading an entire book. Something I have not seen said child actually doing. Later I ask, “So what’s going on with your report?” and am met with giant sighs and falling to the floor. I am assured that reading is being handled and report writing will be 100% taken care of.

He is on page 30 of a 152 page book and it’s due next Wednesday.

We pinpoint this as the source of some of his anxiety. No problem. It’s handled. The evening routine is all drama and tears and emotions still, however. Head-scratcher.

After reading to my daughter peppered with my own tears thanking my seven year old for being so kind-hearted and understanding when all of mom and dad’s attention feels like it’s focused on the big dramatic kid, I tuck her in and get her to bed.

Next up, big kid bed time. My son has a mini meltdown over a snack, lies about brushing his teeth, and finally heaves himself onto his bed giving up any hope that the day will include ice cream and video games. We begin what is supposed to be a quick convo about the day and it turns into something I did not see coming.

“Mom, I think I know part of why I feel so depressed.”
I hold back my cringing at the buzzword and try to focus my energy on an open mind and face. (my face is something I have very little control over)

“(best friend) has been really sad lately and says he’s depressed.”
“Hmm … i wonder why. Do you know what’s going on?”
“Well, I think it’s because of his dad… he died.” (the best friend’s bio parents are divorced and mom is remarried with 2 more kids)
“He died?! When?” (this is news to me)
“His parents got divorced and his dad was really sad so he … you know… killed himself.”

Holy fucking shitballs.

Right. So now go ahead and roll with that, Supermom.

“Wow. That is heavy. That is a lot for (best friend) to deal with, certainly. I wonder if he feels like talking to a counselor would be helpful.”
“He goes to therapy every week.”
“Wow. Ummm, i’m really glad that he has a friend like you to listen and support him. …. that is a lot for you to deal with as well. As important as it is to be there for him and listen and help him work through how he’s feeling, I want you to find a way to leave that at school with him. When you walk away from that kind of interaction, it’s really important to try and center yourself around (yourself) again. Empathy is important, but those are not your problems to work out. That is not your reality.”

“Ok mom.” and he seems to get what I’m saying after some more brief coaching.

We work out the reading math problem of barely read pages minus total pages divided by procrastinators time frame left before adding actual report writing time and then…

*giggles* “Mom?”
“Mm hmm?”
“So what is the point of the cover for a penis? You know, that thing…?”
“A condom?”
*giggling*
“Yea, that.”
[to avoid situations like this one!!]
“If you don’t want to make a baby, you use a condom.”
“So then does that mean that – sputtering giggles- sex is … fun?”

And that, my friends, is how the evening went in my house. From depression and suicide to homework and concluded with a painfully masked conversation about sex and why it’s not just for makin’ babies. Now I have to figure out if the whole best friend depression father’s suicide issue is actually real. How do I handle that?! The best friend, to my knowledge, has limited friends at this school where he is a new student. I don’t know the parents all that well. What does THAT conversation look like? We really only text. Do I text the mom, “Hey, heard your ex offed himself and the boys have been talking… anything I need to know?”

And I thought the pre-sleepover conversation asking if there were guns in the house would be the hardest question to ask.

Conclusion: Use a rubber if you are unwilling to mask your extreme discomfort speaking to an eleven year old boy about anatomy and copulation.

Being Needed

Published December 22, 2017 by sarcasmica

My big kid is 11. Admittedly, he could be considered a momma’s boy. I’m ok with that. The oldest is the guinea pig, and they teach us the most about parenting…usually the parts you don’t like very much. The oldest has the biggest expectations in front of them, and also the most frustration and somehow at the same time satisfaction. Hey, i’ve managed to keep this kid on the planet thus far -and God willing for at least 98 more years, give or take.

My oldest child is my biggest teacher. Just when I think my head will explode from one more Minecraft story, lo and behold, it still sits atop my head. Just when I think I have no idea what the hell I am doing as a parent, I hear my son encourage his little sister do something only he could convince her she could do.

He’s growing up quickly, just like the brochure promises, and I find he needs me less and less. These are good milestones for sure, and I find relief in knowing he is independent.

Today, however, he needed some TLC and it was nice to comfort him.

The day started off nice enough. We all went to see the new Jumanji movie. It was pretty funny and everyone laughed throughout the film. Once we got back home, my son asked me to look at his foot. He had been complaining off and on the last week about his feet being cold and sometimes tingly.

I look today and he has one dark swollen toe, one toe turning blue, and blotches of red on other spots, but just one foot.

My husband has his podiatrist on speed dial since his own surgery last year, so we called and they were able to see him.

Turns out my kid has something called Raynaud’s Syndrome. The circulation in his feet is being restricted by his own body. His arteries and capillaries restrict the flow to the extremities- in his case, the toes, and it can become very serious.

Holy shit! What?

Turns out, according to two reliable medical websites, this can sometimes be a side effect of some adhd medications.

Sonofabitch

So we’ve spent the better part of the afternoon and evening warming feet by way of warm bath, fireplace roasting, heating pad toasting, and wool sock doubling up. When it came time for bed he complained of intense itching and couldn’t settle down to get to sleep. This is an already sensory heightened kid, and apparently the symptoms of Raynaud’s are exacerbated by stress.

So around and around we go

I rubbed his back for a bit to help distract from his mutinied feet. After the final goodnight he said,

“Mom?”

“Yea buddy?”

“I’m glad you’re my mom.”

Ugh. Straight through the heart.

“I’m glad I get to be your mom, honey.”

And there it is. The rare golden Mom moment. I may have nearly caused my son to lose a toe by dragging him all over town in 37 degree weather over the span of two days. I may not have given much thought to a week’s worth of complaining about tingly feet and frozen toes, but here we are. He is still happy to be my kid, and I am more than happy to oblige.

Info Overload

Published October 18, 2017 by sarcasmica

Facebook. Facebook is my time suck. I’ve tried deleting the app off my phone, i’ve tried putting it on the last page of my phone, i’ve tried various things to make me think twice about going down that rabbit hole.

Yes, I have free time. No, that’s not a bad thing.

I have recently left city groups and local communities just to lessen the amount of cares I give. Emotionally, I am working with a medicine dropper amount of fucks to give and frankly, my real life family and friends have dibs. Sorry. I just found myself getting increasingly worried about all the break-ins that were being reported, the bad drivers, the found chickens (yes, this is actually a thing where we used to live) the lost dogs, the dead cats, the careless high schoolers…. seriously, why is this interrupting my life? So I left those groups, and it was so freeing!

Today, however, a long ago request to join a ‘Parents of Kids with ADHD’ support page finally accepted my request. After participating in this group for less than 12 hours, I feel like I now have severe ADD and edging towards Oppositional Defiance Disorder. (ODD)

Dealing with my kid’s issues has been a task. A totally surmountable-in-comparison task. This group has both shed a light on options and choices, and also exhausted my already depleted dropper of attention and energy. People are asking about IEPs and medication and products and services and teachers and doctors OH MY!

Today’s take away has been crazy. Apparently there are parents out there that give their ADHD kids coffee.

COFFEE! Like elementary-aged kids! It supposedly has a calming effect on the overworked ADHD brain.

I called my son’s doc and was like, “What the jittery f*ck is up with this info?!” – full disclosure, the quotes are just suggestive. Not literal. .. as in of course I did not actually say this.

My amazing but conservative doc quickly returned my call (had her nurse immediately call me back) to tell me “No. We don’t recommend parents give coffee to their kids. There are no medical studies proving any of this, there is no valid information stating this, in fact, helps. It actually likely causes them to only be helped briefly, and you don’t really want your 6th grader strung out on five cups of coffee a day.”

Ok. Hope dashed. Miracle, obtainable cure-all spoiled. NEXT!!

The next item up for reviews proves to be slightly more productive. It seems, folks, there exists watches that help remind kids of things. You can attach a wrist watch to your non-motivated, spacey, time-oblivious, executive functioning challenged child that will vibrate little reminders with a message like “brush teeth” or “get dressed” or “pay attention” and you can set the time these reminders will go off. Do you know how much more voice and patience I would have if the watch did all my nagging for me?!!

The only hold up is which watch to purchase! I’m researching like a strung out law student before the Bar. … if I can just stop getting sucked into the countless questions and concerns I feel the need to help with on this damn FB page all about ADHD kids.

The In Between

Published August 24, 2017 by sarcasmica

Here’s the thing. People sometimes suck. They might not mean to, but we all do it. Yes, dear reader, sometimes even I fail to follow my own life motto of “don’t judge” and invariably suck once in a great while.

Today was not that day, however. Today it was someone else.

Let me tell you a little story.

Once upon a time there was a boy. (Oh lawdy, is she really going to speak about her son AGAIN?! We get it lady! ADHD, yea yea yea, sensory crap, blah blah blah. We know already!)

This boy was given a fancy diagnosis, but just a little one. There were much bigger diagnoses that lived in the realm, but this particular boy just got a little smidge of a few different labels. Nothing life-defining or life-threatening. He was lucky in that he was able to frolic about the kingdom talking day and night about his ideas and thoughts and questions and theories.

Day and night and night and day he talked. The Queen tried to find a device to safely remove her ears periodically, but alas none was found.

This boy grew into a handsome young man who knew his own limits and boundaries. Knew them so well, in fact, he often would question and challenge the grown ups around him.

Some grown ups turned into trolls when the boy was nearby. The Queen cannot vanquish them all, so instead she passively aggressively writes tapestries about it.

The End.

My kid had an eye appointment today. Big deal, right? Totally. Except he’s not a typical kid…. or maybe he is, I have no idea. He’s my oldest so (spoiler alert) we don’t know what we’re doing with the first kid yet. Kid 1 is essentially training for Kid 2 and opens that cool judgement door for other parents once you get a little vomit and spit under your belt.

My kid has been himself for a while now… 11 years to be exact. We know him well, he knows himself really well. So well that he has no trouble questioning the professionals that are supposed to help him. Some of these professionals take their jobs so seriously, in fact, that they fail to see that sometimes helping kids with patience and imagination is far more effective than checking off the task list and clocking out.

I’m being vague. I’m sorry. It’s late and I want to sleep, but the scenario that played out today will not stop rotating in my brain.

We get to the appointment. The tech does the measurement tests and the puff test and the whatever else that single machine does test. My kid is fine. The tech is awesome. No issues. We get into the exam room and meet the optometrist and I simply tell her “Hello, just so you know he has some sensory issues and it’s especially tough with bright lights.”

I’m met with a now very common expression of “Uh huh, uh huh, of course”. I go on to qualify, “So he may just need a minute to let his eyes water and he’ll need to rub them a bit, but he will be fine.”

At this point I feel like some people take this as a challenge. It’s as if they think they have the key to “help” my kid be better adjusted. Maybe I read into it too much, but it happens quite often and it’s the visual equivalent of enclosing your fist and cracking your knuckles to ‘get down to business’.

“Move aside lady! I’m gonna make this pansy ass boy into a proper MAN!”
“Just leave him with me for a week and you’ll see how it’s done”
“Sink or swim, lady, that’s what my parents did!”
“Back in my day we just called it like we saw it. Kids these days just need a firm hand”

I’ve heard it all. Guess what? It’s worth about as much as a Donald Trump bumper sticker. Bupkiss. Zilch.

She goes on with her very firm and pushy exam. She does the old, “better 1 or better 2” lens selection process.

I don’t know about you, but for me I usually have to ask the optometrists to slow down so I can actually make an informed choice. I’ve worn glasses my entire life and this is always an issue.

Now take a kid who has auditory processing difficulty. The cynic in me knows exactly what the response to that phrase I just said is. It’s a snort and a “PUH-LEASE! That’s just a fancy way of saying your kid doesn’t listen! This is every kid. Get real lady!”

And you’re totally right. You are. He doesn’t listen because the 27 channels of his own intelligent thoughts that are all coming through at once don’t really want to stop long enough to pay attention to the pushy, grumpy, caffeine-deficient “professional” who is barking strange directions at him.

Auditory Processing is something most regular folk don’t have to think about. You hear something, you either understand it or you don’t, and you move along. Guess what? That’s not a function that everyone has, believe it or not. Some people hear something and then actually need to take moments, minutes even, to literally allow it to sink in. Once it sinks in that does not guarantee action. Then you have to find the correct response within your overworked brain to speak out loud.

As mundane and ridiculous and “millennial” as some may think this is, please get over yourself and understand that it is in fact reality for a lot of people and children.

So instead of saying something very simple like, oh i don’t know, “I’m switching between 2 options and you can tell me which is better, 1 or 2?” [pause pause pause]

What happened was he sat at the lens selector and when she began he said, “Whoa! What the heck?”

her: “It’s just a ___ machine, now tell me which is better, 1 or 2?Better1or2?2or1?”

Like any of that sentence on it’s own, outside of an optometrist’s office, is logical phrased conversation.

He managed the whole thing and does a good job. She didn’t do anything inappropriate or out of line. There’s nothing I can technically complain about. I did not stop her and let him hear me make an excuse for his slower response time to her berating mannerisms. Every time we encounter another adult I do not need to qualify his presence with an explanation that “Just so you know, he has ADHD, so some things may not go according to your plan.” Do I get a heads up when someone is an asshole? “Just so you know, before you speak with this teller you should know that she’s kind of a bitch and she hates Mondays. Good luck!”? No, I don’t. People don’t come with warnings and neither should my kid. Just don’t suck!

Much like it was her lesson today to have some patience, it unfortunately was his lesson that sometimes grown ups who have a title aren’t always going to be compassionate and kind. Why? Because people sometimes suck. We don’t always get to report them, or write them up, or give them yelp stars. We don’t always have to leave comments when we aren’t happy with something. You have to deal with the sucky people wherever you go and whomever you become.

I do not speak about my son’s challenges because I need to justify anything. I speak about it because it’s our reality. There are so many parents who have to deal with tough, hard, incredibly difficult circumstances. We don’t have that, thank heavens. We instead have a nebulous quasi special needs, but more accurately, special considerations. My kid does not have hard fast rules about his limitations.  It’s more about the limitations others have on what they will accept or belittle by way of pushing, criticizing, judging an 11 year old’s reaction to the world.

If your work day includes interactions with a kid who you perceive as “difficult”, maybe change your perspective a little and see if you can’t learn something new. I’ve made it day in and day out with him 11 years, I think you can handle 40 minutes.

 

(Imagine the video of an impatient optometrist and an uncomfortable and squirrely kid is here since I refuse to pay wordpress more $ so upgrade my account just to support one simple video clip)

Alien Evolution

Published March 24, 2017 by sarcasmica

Driving my son to fencing practice last night, he began talking about civilization. At first I thought it was just iPad withdrawal, but turns out he was going somewhere with it.

I have to paraphrase here because honestly, I wasn’t actually listening in the beginning. I tuned in off and on and it went something like this

“…. where we came from…”  “… like from another planet, because there are a lot of planets and we still don’t know everything that’s out there…”  “.. how I got here. I just wish I knew where we came from, you know?”

This was obviously the answer portion of the show.

“You mean like reincarnation?” (a topic of discussion last week)

“Yea.. sorta… but like where people came from. I wish we knew how we got here.”

How can he not know this at 10? Have I been that negligent that these basic concepts were left out?

“Honey .. we know where we came from. There has been lots and lots of science that tells us our history and how we got here.”

silence…. which, if you live with a ten year old boy who plays Minecraft and video games, you know this is not usually a positive reaction.

…. ?? hello?

And it dawned on me that he didn’t really want to seem out of the loop, but since it is a huge loop, more of a sphere, I delved into the very limited information I have on the topic. I was cursing myself for not paying more attention in Ancient Civilization in high school.

We talked about evolution. We talked about early humans. We talked about evolution and early humans. This somehow segwayed into a conversation about language. He wanted to know how language becomes established. Thankfully this I had slightly more information on based on having a near certification for Interpreting.

I explained how language is an ever-evoloving thing. There is no set permanent language because it’s constantly reflecting society.

Language is a result of the culture that establishes and uses it. Think about the word “Cold” or “snow”. Do you think Alaskans have more words used for that or Arizonians? We went on to discuss how the culture determines the usage and rules of a word.

He was still spinning on the fact that words are still being created. “Can I create a word?” “Only if you can find a massive group of people to all use it the same way you do, and then they influence and cause millions more to use it all in a common way.”

“Take ‘Selfie’ for example. This was not a word before smart phones. There were people flipping cameras around to take photos of themselves, yes. I was/am a master at this. It just didn’t have a name until people began using smart phones, apps, taking pictures of themselves en masse. Instead of always saying ‘I’m taking a picture of myself.’ it evolved down to just a single word. A word everyone uses for the same thing.”

We talked about how words get added to the dictionary every year because society and culture is always finding a new way to describe something. We talked about certain things being invented long ago that forever changed society. Fire. The wheel.

It was quite a cerebral conversation for a non-college educated mom and her ten year old son.

And this, my friends, is what can happen when you travel without an iPad. (because your son lost privileges due to behaving like a rabid beast every morning before school)

Don’t get me wrong, this conversation could have played out in a million ways. 999,998 of them being about Minecraft in one way or another. Also, I could have tuned in and out of whatever current story is being written in his brain. This one time it was educational and interesting and I actually found a topic I didn’t have to bullshit my way through entirely! SCORE!

 

Convos With My Kid

Published January 8, 2017 by sarcasmica

I’ve told this story out loud to a few friends, but I realize I better “write it down” before it’s completely lost in the ether and out of my brain forever.

The day after Christmas I took my son to Target to use a gift card
(Side note: Never rush to Target the day after Christmas in the hopes of finding anything on the shelf. It was and empty anti climactic exercise in futility)

Anyway, on the drive my son asks “Mom, why does the Christmas song say ‘you better not pout, you better not cry’? What’s so wrong with crying?”

Me in my head: Wow. Did that just come from my 10 year old? Ok, don’t eff this up, woman. Wake up! Answer the boy!
“Well that’s a really old song. Up until fairly recently the general consensus was that children should be seen and not heard. If a kid was crying, grown ups didn’t want to hear it. This was the case when I was a kid, too.”

Kid: “Hmm.. that seems really sad because then kids must have felt they couldn’t just be themselves.”

Me: “You’re right, that is pretty sad. Parents talking to their kids and asking about feelings and having conversations about what you want and feel is a fairly new concept, buddy. Do you think Grandma talked to me about feelings?”

“Uhh, no.”

“Because there weren’t open honest conversations, lots and lots of people grew up not talking about certain things because they didn’t want to make their parents angry. They had to hold in a lot of things. Think about all those kids who knew they were gay but couldn’t tell or were afraid to tell their families. There were a lot of kids who got kicked out of their house, people whose parents stopped speaking to them.”

“That’s really sad, mom. That must’ve been terrible for those kids. I can’t even imagine that.”

We went on to talk about why calling people ‘gay’ as a negative thing is not acceptable because of how brave and courageous people actually are. We also talked about how stifling these kinds of conversations can be and what it can lead to – depression, running away, etc etc.

Then my son asks, “Mom, so how were you able to be a different mom than your mom was?”

“Well, I took the things that I thought were really great and tried to do that, and the things I wanted to change for you and your sister I changed.”

“Mom, I’m really glad you changed some things.”

“Thanks, buddy. I’m glad I did too because we get to talk about this kind of stuff.”

And my mom heart yet again grew three sizes. This boy surprises me, challenges me and my patience, but his brain is a wonderful thing. Some say his challenges make our life hard and I have been known to call him ‘difficult’ and he is. But it’s moments like these that remind me it’s for a reason. Kids can be amazing.

It took taking a class to open my eyes to the need of communicating with my kids. While I can certainly appreciate the ‘seen and not heard’ mentality so much gets lost with that. I’ve been able to help my kid understand his body and mind better because we have conversations when lots of people think he should be left in a time out and ignored because “that’s the consequence”. I think this is especially necessary for kids with challenges and issues. My kid knows he has ADD, but he knows what that means. He takes medication for it, but he knows why, and he is part of the team that made the decision to do it.

Time outs and consequences do have their place, but only if you remember to help your kid through their feelings. Feelings are confusing and frustrating and hard to manage. Without a road map, how would anyone get anywhere? Think about how many adults are in counseling to handle feelings. I wonder what that looks like if you’re given some guidance early on as a lot of those feelings are forming. I am sure to be open about my own feelings in front of my kids. Do they make me cry with frustration and anger sometimes? Hell yes. Do I hide that? Hell no. “This is what it looks like when you treat people that way.” Do my husband and I have arguments? Yes. Do we still love each other? Yes. Is it okay to have different ideas and opinions and still have a great relationship with someone? Yes. I like to think my kids have seen this.

In the same way we show happiness and love, we also have to show anger and sadness. We have to be honest about being confused. We have to let them know mistakes are not exclusively a kid thing. There’s no shame in showing the kids your cracks…. wait, that came out totally wrong. Please don’t show children your crack. DO show them that your armor isn’t impenetrable. Strength is only dependable when you see what it grew from. Also, they know when you’re faking it. Don’t you remember being a kid and having to endure one of the countless “How is school going?” conversations and just knowing the grown ups that were faking it? Our own children are even smarter than we were, so give them credit for it.

Just remember, if all goes according to plan, these are the people that are making the decisions about your care and treatment when you’re an old fart. They will have their fingers on the cord when the doctor asks if it’s time to pull it.

(A note to my mother who I know reads this blog: This is in no way a knock on your parenting. You did what you knew how to do and I certainly do not find fault in the lack of “feelings talk”)  🙂

 

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